Unearthing the truth to bury the clichés

Unearthing the truth to bury the clichés

Are all telecoms providers uncaring, inefficient and exploitative? Changing deep-rooted negative perceptions.

Client: Leading UK telecoms provider
Relationship: Direct with the client
Commissioned by: Client
Services provided: Analysis, research, concept development, copywriting
Project duration: 3 weeks

The brief

The client runs the UK’s entire communications network. They take care of the messy, unglamorous end of the business: the infrastructure. But they do much more besides. For example, designing communications solutions for third-party providers or innovating new communications technologies. Few companies in the world hold more patents.

The challenge was to get that message across effectively to their constituency of around 900 customers, so that the client could do some serious solutions-based upselling.

The approach

From a strategy perspective, the big challenge was that few people within the company really understood the full scope of their operations. There had also been a brochure in development for over 18 months, stuck in the approvals process, but it was too technically complex and mostly already out of date.

I needed to find one person who could talk me through the whole story, giving me the information I needed to create an effective solution. Against an immovable deadline, I was given a target of three weeks to research, conceptualise and write whatever it was the company was going to end up with.

The method

A series of face-to-face interviews with the client’s fiery, opinionated and inspiring marketing director. Over the course of several hours, the story gradually unfolded. We talked about the company’s tarnished reputation – it was a popular hate figure in the UK following a controversial privatisation, and was perceived as hugely inefficient. That too had changed radically; but again, too few people knew about it.

We talked about the challenges of generating more business from a finite constituency. We talked about the incredible infrastructure changes the company had forced through in recent years. We talked about ubiquitous broadband: more people in the UK can access broadband than can access the mains water supply. We talked about fibre-optic networking.

The result

The result
A single brochure that introduced the full scope of the client’s operations and then guided the reader through each element in a clear and readable format. Because the publication needed to have a shelf-life of 18-24 months, the wording needed to be carefully tuned to avoid being instantly out of date.

Complex technical concepts had to be framed in terms that any CEO or CFO could quickly grasp, whether or not they had any specialist technical knowledge. With no fuss and in just two drafts, I delivered the project a week early: well in time for the major international sales conference it was destined for. Proof of the vital importance of nailing down the strategy before beginning the creative work. It doesn’t just ensure you say the right thing: it saves valuable time and lots of money.


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